Making a turn on View

We found our Apache truck perched on a concrete guard rail.
Like a new discovery.
Like we were coming at it with pick-axes from a long way below,
a climb to a rich vein, if the reports were true.
With no claim to stake except the bonanza
to go on living.

It balanced there, hung-up by its crotch, straddling cement.
Front and rear wheels gasping, gripping only air.
I had seen a river of sparks through the windshield.
A final solution of iron on rock.
We had slide backwards until the hand of friction
forgave us our weight and impulsion.

The Greyhound bus had crossed a line—so it was said.
It was raining, the highway was slick.
Baron swerved to miss the bus, I saw stone
cliffs and dark sky, cliffs and dark, cliffs and dark,
a drunken-go-round—then
a crow-bar thrown into the cogs.

Balanced on the rail the world rose silent.
Ken threw open the passenger door.
Below us, small, tucked in and asleep, Golden, BC.
Abe, sleeping under a blanket in the back of the truck,
startled up, wet, and quizzical.

We stood on the highway, shoulders up against the dawn.
Keeping lit a shared cigarette.
Baron said, I could have killed you all,
and waited—hoping for the police.
But we did not tell them of the tank of gas, stolen
from the Shell on the Shaganappi.

Or how the evening began without a plan,
in a slumping house by a hospital.
How there had been music, and tales of perfection elsewhere.
We did not say how fevered memories paint
pacific suns over beer joints,
or how kitchen table imagination does not equal experience,

and deliver its flagrancy to the lap of Lotus Land.
One taken, three left, we squatted—our backs
against a cinder-block wall—wordless, waiting
for the Apache’s verdict, while the rod and staff
of a noonday sun anointed the glacial air
and we slept as though beloved.

Days later on Douglas, making a turn on View,
the Chevy Apache went straight.
A tie-rod end had fallen the infinite distance from shackle to asphalt,
leaving the truck free to wander.
The day fell off like a scab.
I laced up my shoes and hitched to a ferry.


  1. Harrowing. I have a hunch that this is based on an experience in your life once upon a time ago.

    As a mother with a son learning to drive right now, such images don’t help since we live in an area with lots of cliffs, sharp curves, and drivers who tend to cross the lines (partially because the paint is worn thin in many places).

  2. Another awesome poem, a life time ago.
    An incident like that as a kid and you just walk away but as a adult it may just stop the heart!

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